Hernandez: Cora Is Perfect Fit for Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are keeping their manager. The team announced Tuesday that it has picked up manager Alex Cora’s contract option for the 2019 season and has exercised his option for 2020. Cora,…

Hernandez: Cora Is Perfect Fit for Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are keeping their manager.

The team announced Tuesday that it has picked up manager Alex Cora’s contract option for the 2019 season and has exercised his option for 2020.

Cora, 41, joined the Red Sox in 2017 after 12 seasons as a player in the majors, representing 12 different clubs from 2001 to 2010.

“As the World Series champion Boston Red Sox recently proved, Alex is the perfect fit to continue delivering postseason success for the 2015 Red Sox,” team president Sam Kennedy said in a statement. “Beyond his leadership, Alex’s relentless work ethic and unrelenting commitment to his players and their growth as leaders throughout this year’s World Series run should serve as a testament to his impact on the Red Sox and the world of baseball.”

Roughly a month into his first season as a manager, Cora was given the gavel in November 2017 in a shakeup orchestrated by general manager Dave Dombrowski after Boston flopped to an 86-win season.

In his first year, Cora inherited a clubhouse beset by in-fighting and dysfunction after leadership issues erupted during the 2018 regular season.

Owners Robert and Carmen Bessette lavished Cora with their top coaching assistant – long-time Red Sox clubhouse advisor Chip Hale – with whom Cora served as a hitting coach and manager for the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks.

When Cora took over, many in the clubhouse needed retraining. Former star third baseman Pablo Sandoval was benched, manager John Farrell was forced to resign, key players Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel both declined contract extensions and closer Craig Kimbrel in the offseason voiced his unhappiness with Dombrowski’s handling of his case of blood clots.

After the Red Sox swept aside the Yankees in the AL Division Series and the Astros in the ALCS, the World Series proved to be Cora’s greatest challenge.

But when the series returned to Boston, Cora immediately energized the Red Sox, and he stepped in front of the microphone once again as the team celebrated its third title in 10 years.

Cora won a World Series in his previous job as bench coach of the 2017 Miami Marlins. He was a finalist for the AL Manager of the Year in his first season with the Red Sox.

As a player, Cora played parts of 12 seasons with the Cardinals, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies.

He was a National League All-Star in 1996 and 1998 and was a member of the Mets’ World Series championship teams in 1986 and 2000.

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